Thursday, July 15, 2010

Contraception and Abortion

There is quite a bit of talk about contraception going on in the Catholic blog world these days. One thing that seems missing is the link between contraception and abortion. The connection between the sacredness of life and the sacredness of the process that produces life. So if the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is holy then the process that produces that presence, namely the mass, must be holy. That means we can't manipulate the mass willy-nilly. We need to respect it and celebrate it as it was intended. Same thing with life. If life is sacred the process that produces life, that is sex, must be sacred. So we can't manipulate sex any way we want. We need to engage in it the way it was intended.

It is not such a stretch to believe that sex is sacred. We know it inherently. I found it to be one of the most surprising things about the sexual revolution. That sexual inhibitions were so hard to get rid of. Society has been mocking sexual morals and pushing a pornographic lifestyle for a long time. Yet most people see sex as special and more than just a way for people to pleasure themselves. They can't explain how it is special or why there are sexual morals but people know intuitively something is there.

So the sacredness of life implies the sacredness of sex. The sacredness of sex is confirmed in our hearts. Then it makes sense that we can't just change the sex act any way we like. We need to respect it. Respect the way it was intended to be. This should cause us to be very wary of inserting rubber devices into the sex act or doing surgery on a person's sex organs. We are treating something sacred as something ordinary. We are fiddling with our sexuality like we would a car engine.

Now taking a pill is less clear. You are not directly doing anything to your sex organs so it takes some honest reflection to see why that is not acceptable. But it becomes easier when you realize the pill is an abortificant. That it sometimes kills a child after conception rather than preventing the ovulation. So that arbitrary moral line people draw at conception does get crossed.

Can sex unite a couple even when they use artificial contraceptives? Sure. Sex can unite a couple who is not married. Does that make it OK? The depth of that unification is fully understood and experienced when there is openness to life. To make it just a short term thrill cheapens it. It says I want to embrace you minus your ability to reproduce. I want enough of you to give me pleasure but not the whole you.

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